I've been thinking about that phrase from the play "The Mourning Bride" by William Congreve, an English author of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. You know the one: "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." ("The Mourning Bride", 3.8) When you think of these few words, you automatically think about a woman who has been jilted by the one she loves and wants to viciously strike back. However, have you ever wondered how a man would feel if he were the one jilted?
This thinking/wondering came about as a result of a man who visits many sites and leaves disparaging, rude, crude, abusive, and cruel comments on women's blogs. Sometimes this type of behaviour accelerates into actual death threats (it hasn't happened to me) as in the case of Kathy Sierra who, in March 2007, shut down her blog because of sexually graphic death threats. So I started wondering just why do some men hate women to the extent that they'd do this.
I started doing some Googling and discovered, to my surprise, that there's a lot out there on this topic. Some write about this phenomenon being the result of original sin when Eve took and ate the forbidden fruit and then blamed it on Adam. That fruit, by the way, is a symbol of the promise of knowledge, something that Adam couldn't supply. Some actually believe that this story is central to the oppression of women worldwide.
Did you know that the English language has 220 words (almost all derogatory) for a sexually promiscuous female and only 20 for a sexually promiscuous male (most of these complimentary). Consider the following: A 'master' exercises authority whereas a 'mistress' is the so-called kept woman. The term 'sir' retains respect while 'madam' refers to someone who keeps a brothel. A 'lord of all he surveys' is quite different from a 'lady of the streets', and the meaning of 'he's a professional' is generally understood differently from 'she's a professional'. (from "Why Men Hate Women" by Celia Kitzinger, new internationalist issue 212 - October 1990).
Susan Forward, PhD, a leading psychotherapist states: "Once we begin to examine the forces that drive the woman hater, we find that much of his abusive behavior is a cover-up for his tremendous anxiety about women. He is caught in the conflict between his need for the woman’s love and his deep-seated fear of her. This man needs, as we all do, to feel safe. As adults we fulfill these yearnings through physical intimacy, emotional sharing and parenting. But the woman hater finds these yearnings terribly frightening. His normal needs to be close to a woman are mixed with fears that she can annihilate him emotionally. He harbors a hidden belief that if he loves a woman, she will then have the power to hurt him, to engulf him and to abandon him. Once he has invested her with these awesome and mythical powers, she becomes a fearful figure for him."
She goes on to explain that the woman-hater's conflicting emotions of yearning and fear result in behaviours of hostility, aggression, contempt and cruelty. Early childhood plays a role in contributing to this mysoginistic behaviour. In an ideal situation, mothers nurture and is a boy’s primary source of comfort, while fathers help pull the boy away from mother so that he does not become overly dependent on her. If you look closely at the childhood of a woman-hater, the father was probably either too frightened or passive to pull the boy from the mother, and consequently, the boy had no option but to make his mother the center of his universe.
"Without realizing it, in adult life he transfers this dependency, as well as conflicts and fears that go with it, onto the woman in his life. The woman hater saw his mother as having the power to frustrate him, to withhold love from him, to smother him, to make him feel weak, or to make insatiable demands on him"—and as an adult he views women as having these same powers.
I feel some sympathy towards this type of man because no matter what, something terrible happened to him sometime in his life that skewed his image of women. At the same time, I can't and won't tolerate written abuse from anyone like that on my blog. When it happens, I do not bother to argue back - it's a losing battle anyway - and I don't want it to escalate like it did on poor Kathy Sierra's site. I simply ignore the comment and delete it. I hope you will do the same thing out of respect not only for your readers, but also for yourself.